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Ride the ranges, at leisure

Idyllic hamlets, streams and lush green valleys welcomes peace-seekers in Taragarh.

fashion and trends Updated: May 06, 2005 15:53 IST

Snow-capped mountains caressing the clouds. A chiaroscuro of black and white on the horizon. You get the first view of the Dhauladhar range 82 kilometres from Pathankot en route Taragarh in the Kangra Valley.

And then the scenery becomes picture postcard. Idyllic hamlets, smiling schoolchildren, herds of mountain sheep and scores of streams running through mountains — the sights and sounds are cathartic to a big city dweller. In local lingo, the word for water, lots of it, is pulum. This is what has given Palampur its name and looking at the water bodies, one realises the nomenclature is no exaggeration.

Idyllic hamlets, streams and lush green valleys welcomes peace-seekers in Taragarh.

The mile stone logs 60 km to Taragarh. And there’s logging activity on the roadside. As you roll down the window of your car, you see pieces of pine being packed into the back of a lorry.



At 545 km from Delhi, Taragarh is off the beaten track. That’s what makes this destination in the Kangra Valley all the more appealing. Its proximity to Dharamshala and McLeodganj is an incentive for tourists on the Buddhism circuit. There are a couple of monasteries in Taragarh itself — Tashijong and Sherab Ling, run by influential Buddhist monks.

Factfile

The WelcomHeritage Taragarh Palace Hotel has room tariffs that range between Rs 1,250 and Rs 3,950 a night for cabins and suites respectively. Inexpensive local accomodation options are available at Rs 1,000 onward.

Getting there

By train: Take a train to Pathankot (The Jammu Mail and the Dhauladhar Express, two popular options, start from Old Delhi Railway Station).

By road: Delhi-Taragarh is 545 km through Chandigarh-Ropar-Nangal-Kangra-Palampur. Or take another route that goes via Chandigarh-Kiratpur Saheb-Bilaspur-Mandi-Joginder Nagar-Baijnath. Pathankot to Taragarh is a three-hour, 125-km drive.

Polo-player turned hotelier Vikramaditya Singh owns the impressive Taragarh Palace Heritage Hotel, easily the best place to set up camp in the little town. Says Singh, captain of the Royal Kashmir polo team: “We’ve recently added a new wing to the hotel. Along with architects Revati and Vasant Kamath, my wife Chitrangada and I have been involved hands-on in the facelift.”

The signs of the involvement are evident on the hotel’s walls. There are interesting horses and landscapes bearing Chitrangada’s signature, in the old wing. The service is unobtrusive and the food excellent.

Places to visit nearby
The Baijnath temple:
An ode to Siva Vaidyanatha (‘Lord of Physicians’). The temple is ancient but the main structure remains intact. Part of Taragarh’s sightseeing trinity that includes the Tashijong monastery and the Rajmata Fish Pond.

The Andretta artist village: Founded by Sardar Sobha Singh and Irish theatreperson Norah Richards. Mansimran Singh, son of Gurcharan Singh, founder of the Blue Pottery Trust, runs the
Andretta Pottery and Craft Society here. You can pick up inexpensive prints of Sobha Singh’s paintings for Rs 35.

Tea country: Spend an afternoon visiting tea gardens and the tea-processing factory at Palampur.